14 May, 2009

A major review on the genus Euscorpius has been published

The genus Euscorpius is the main scorpion genus in Europe and is also one of my favorite genera. In the last 10 years there have been a major increase in the knowledge of these small scorpions. Before 1999, there was only known four valid species (E. carpathicus, E. flavicaudis, E. germanus and E. italicus). Today, the number of valid species is 17 (!).

Thanks to better systematic investigations of morphological characters and the introduction of molecular studies of genetic divergence, many of the traditional old species have turned out to be species complex with "hidden" species. The number of species will rise in the future, as there are still several populations and subspecies that not yet have been properly investigated (e.g. Euscorpius carpathicus candiota in Crete and many Balkan populations).

My friend Valerio Vignoli and Nicola Salomone have now written a great review summing up the current status and knowledge of the genus Euscorpius. Most species are illustrated with color pictures and the article also has an identification key for all species in the genus.

The present work provides a general survey of the scorpion genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876. Each species is briefly summarized, with notes on taxonomy, morphology, geographic distribution and ecology. The distribution and diagnostic characters are shown in easy to read tables and an identification key is provided. All the current valid species of Euscorpius (except Euscorpius koschewnikowi Birula, 1903) and several peculiar morphotypes are illustrated, with the first images of Euscorpius beroni Fet, 2000. The main aim of this work is to provide a complete review which will be useful both to have clearance on current systematics of the complex genus Euscorpius and to interpret possible future taxonomic rearrangements. Euscorpius italicus (Herbst, 1800) was found for the first time in Siena (central-western Italy), a record that represents a new allochthonous population, probably due to anthropogenic origin.

Vignoli V, Salomone N. A review of and additions to the current knowledge of the scorpion genus Euscorpius Thorell, 1876 (Scorpiones, Euscorpiidae). Fragmenta Entomologica, Roma. 2008;40 (2):189-228.

Family Euscorpiidae

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